In the First Person
Cathy Snapp, PhD ’02
My season at Baylor, pursuing a doctoral degree in educational psychology, was saying an internal “yes” to a great many fears as well as a time of birthing an internal spaciousness as broad and as beautiful as that great, huge Texas sky I came to love so well. It served as God’s transforming preparation for the season of life and sacred calling I am now living as an author, teacher, and practitioner of behavioral medicine on faculty at a Family Medicine Residency Program in Tallahassee, Florida.
After completing my coursework at Baylor, I decided to head back home to Georgia to write my dissertation and prepare for whatever the next stop was to be in my nomadic career, and as I was driving away from Waco, literally, a whole new direction for my life was given.
My dearest friend, Kitty Crenshaw, flew out to help me make the long trek back home. It was somewhere between Waco and Tyler when God blew the hinges off our little trip plans and opened a horizon we couldn’t have begun to imagine. We were laughing and musing and catching up on life when our thoughts and words turned toward our spiritual lives and as always our spiritual mentor, Betty Skinner.
As we spoke of all that she had taught us and all the ways we were trying to put in practice and emulate her wisdom, Kitty very, very simply looked at me and said, “Cath, we have to write her story.” Those six words were the true culmination of all that Baylor prepared me to do and to become. All of the writing, all of the research, all of the work at Truett Seminary – all of it had been a sacred preparation for the most amazing odyssey and collection of miracles I have ever experienced. So, wrote her story we did and so, so much more.
We began by writing The Hidden Life, a book about Betty’s transforming encounter with God written from the perspective of one who took the risk of total surrender and passed through the dark night of clinical depression into the ultimate mystery of divine union. Betty’s remarkable story of perseverance and hope inspired not only the book but a CD of her prayers and a spiritual direction series on DVD that can be used individually or in groups. We have worked might and main for the past five years to develop materials that disseminate her wisdom and spiritual tools for growth.
It is our privilege to have been given the gift that came from Betty’s suffering: a deep and abiding testimony to the existence of a Reality beyond our own, one that will transform the lives of those souls free and open enough to receive it. I use these materials every single day in my clinical practice, seeking to offer help and hope and spiritual direction to others as they walk their path of pain and suffering.
This hidden life has been lived in all the fullness of its pain and joy by our friend and spiritual mentor Betty Skinner. Her intense yearning for God ultimately led her from terrible suffering with clinical depression into the place of promised peace and rest that we all long for.
I am grateful for all of the tools I learned at Baylor that have so richly equipped me for all of the writing, research, speaking, teaching, and counseling that I am doing now. It is all sacred gift.
To read comments regarding Cathy and an excerpt from The Hidden Life, visit the Web Extras
Cathy was able to serve in an assistantship to fund her program. If you would like to find out about ways to assist students like her, please contact the School of Education's Development officer, Carol Menefee at Carole_Menefee@baylor.edu or 800-BAYLOR-U, option 4.